Hello there and welcome back to yet another guitar review! This time we will look at one of my latest purchases, Schecter Solo II Custom in Aged Black Satin. As you may have noticed, I have been eyeing single-cut design, Les Paul-type guitars for a long time and seriously wanted to experience how this iconic guitar design would feel in my hands.
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To try out this sensation without busting the bank, I decided to get an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Ebony, however, I had some issues with Thomann’s guitar service and currently trying to resolve the issue with them.
While dealing with this, I was still G.A.S.’ing for a single cut LP style guitar so wanted to try another one (I’m afraid I will end up buying a proper Gibson Les Paul!:)). I decided to go for an LP-style guitar with a modern take this time and eventually got myself a Schecter Solo II Custom in Aged Black Satin. As I always do, I will provide you with many details and a no-talking demo video! So stick around and let’s get started!
Schecter Guitar Research, commonly known as Schecter, is a well-known American guitar manufacturing company. It was founded in 1976 by David Schecter in Van Nuys, California. Initially, the company gained recognition for producing high-quality replacement parts for existing guitars, such as Fender and Gibson.
Over the years, Schecter has evolved into a prominent guitar brand, manufacturing a wide range of electric guitars and basses. The company is particularly renowned for its custom and semi-custom instruments, catering to a diverse range of musical styles, including rock, metal, and jazz.
Schecter guitars are often praised for their craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the use of quality materials. The company offers a variety of guitar models, including signature series instruments designed in collaboration with renowned artists. Schecter‘s guitars are known for their versatility, making them popular among musicians across different genres.
As you may already know, I’m a big fan of Schecter guitars. Solo II Custom is not the first Schecter I tried. While working in the MI business, I had the chance to test, play and record many Schecters daily and was always amazed by their quality. Even their SGR by Schecter line was pretty much one of the best entry-level guitars ever.
Check out my Schecter guitar reviews here
Schecter Solo II Custom ABSN
Schecter Solo II Custom is a single-cut, LP-style guitar that belongs to their Diamond Series as you can see on the headstock. This series features guitars that belong to non-custom-made, mass-produced Schecter guitars with a combination of different specs.
But from a different standpoint, you can take this “Custom” series as another family within their Diamond series. Schecter’s Custom Series guitars feature big and bold specs such as big block pearl inlays, and Schecter/USA-made pickups with classic colours and high-quality components.
As far as I have seen in their catalogue, Solo II indicates single-cut, LP-style guitars from Schecter. They also recently released the top-of-the-line Solo II guitars under the Solo II Supreme model name.
As mentioned above, Schecter Solo II Custom is a modern take on the traditional Les Paul-style guitars. It features a classic combination of a mahogany body with a maple top and 3 piece mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard. It also comes with mother-of-pearl inlay blocks.
Old the hardware is gold coloured and you have your Schecter branded locking tuners, ToneProse Tune-O-Matic style bridge and Schecter’s in-house Pasadena pickups. Unlike a traditional LP design, Schecter Solo Custom II features individual volume pots for each pickup and a master tone control which can also be used as a push/pull switch for coil splitting.
Before we dive into details and my review of this instrument, let’s have a quick look at the tech specs first.
Schecter Solo II Custom Tech Specs
|Model Name||Solo II Custom|
|Top Contour||Arched Top|
|Neck Material||Mahogany 3-pc|
|Neck Shape||Thin ‘C’|
|Thickness||@ 1st Fret- .787” (20mm)/ @ 12th Fret- .866” (22mm)|
|Fretboard Radius||12”-16” Compound Radius|
|Binding||Aged Creme Multi-ply|
|Inlays||Mother of Pearl Blocks|
|Nut||Ernie Ball Compensated Nut|
|Nut Width||1.653” (42mm)|
|Truss Rod||2-Way Adjustable Rod w/ 5/32” (4mm) Allen Nut|
|Bridge||TonePros T3BT TOM & T1Z Tailpiece|
|Bridge Pickup||Schecter USA Pasadena Plus™|
|Neck Pickup||Schecter USA Pasadena™|
|Knobs||Grip Tip Speed Knob|
|Colour||Aged Black Satin (ABSN)|
|Strings||Ernie Ball Regular Slinky #2221 (.010-.046)|
|Made in||South Korea!|
|Case||1672 SGR-Solo-II Hardcase (sold separately)|
As you can easily understand, this is an absolute modern take on a classical Les Paul design. After having played an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Ebony which is a Gibson CS clone, I noticed that the LP design is not for everyone. It’s not an easy guitar to play and it has its limitations. However, the sounds coming out of this traditional (maybe outdated for some) design are matchless!
With such modern takes in the guitar market, you can expect that some of its limitations do not exist or are improved in favour of the players. With Solo Custom II, the decisions made on the neck design, easy access neck joint, modern-sounding pickups, coil splitting options, jumbo frets and locking tuners make this guitar an absolute dream for modern players! Advertisement - Please click these ads and support the website
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Before we dive into my review of Schecter Solo II Custom, I would like to share my no-talking review and sound demo with you! In this video, I used my Schecter Solo II Custom along with Marshall JVM410H, Red Seven Amp Central IR Loader/Load Box directly into my RME Babyface PRO audio interface. I also added Eventide SP2016 reverb as an effect.
Schecter Solo Custom II Review & Sound Demo (no talking)
Schecter Solo II Custom Review
As I mentioned, I have played dozens of Schecters during my service in the MI industry and also had the chance to record them in our unbiased video series back in the day. Also, my regular readers may already know that I have a Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid PT-7 in my collection which I like a lot! So having this experience helped me make my decision a lot easier!
I always expect a certain level of quality control from any Schecter and I have ever hardly upset about it so far. Most of the things that may be considered mediocre craftsmanship regarding Schecter guitars were pretty much less important factors and the ones that could be easily fixed.
For instance, once we opened up a Schecter SLS C-1 Blackjack model that had one of the plastic pickup rings turned out to be cracked. I also came across minor quality and setup issues with my Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid PT-7 with the truss rod cover, wrongly set pickup heights and pickup selector switch that had some issues out of the box.
I can tell you that this level of quality is still consistent with the Schecter Solo II Custom as well! 🙂 Let’s dive into the review!
Schecter Solo II Custom features a classic Schecter headstock with a truss rod cover that has Solo II Custom label attached with a single screw. The binding that covers the entire body from front to back also exists on the headstock. The binding has this nice yellow colour which has a great contrast with the black colour.
To be honest with you, I like this headstock design and the yellowish binding around it. However, I think this binding colour would be so much better if the guitar was gloss black. Just my opinion though.
Solo II Custom comes with Schecter-branded locking tuners in gold colour. I think this feature is pretty much well-appreciated by many guitar players. I don’t have any issues with standard tuners, however, locking tuners make string changing a breeze and just like on my Schecter Hellraiser PT-7, they perform excellently and you will have no tuning issues at all!
Ernie Ball Compensated Nut
Solo II Custom also has a feature that helps it stand out among its competitors. It comes with an Ernie Ball Compensated Nut! I have never seen a guitar with this feature and still, I’m not able to understand its benefits. Before buying this instrument, I felt like this had to be a pretty big plus for a guitar. Then I researched it online and couldn’t see much content and review on this feature.
I’m not going to lie to you! I haven’t noticed any added benefits of this compensated nut. However, when I look at it, I can easily see that the touch points of each string are pre-adjusted with this nut. This possibly means that in case you change string gauges and experiment with different tunings, you will have more room to adjust the intonation on the bridge.
But still, I have never had any issues with intonating my guitars with different gauges/models of guitar strings before. I know that sometimes low E string may require more adjustment and one can easily max out the saddle at the bridge. I bet I will never know! 🙂 *Note that this is just my improvised theory on the benefits of a compensated guitar nut. If you know any facts about these nuts, please share them with me via the contact form below. I will happily add them to this article!
The neck is a classic, 3 piece mahogany neck with (again) an aged satin black finish. It has a compound radius from 12″ to 16″ which is one of the best features of Schecter guitars. Schecter can build these compound necks pretty well and these are some of the most comfortable necks I have ever played!
The neck features a nice-grade ebony fingerboard with some visible wood grains as you can see on the photos. But overall, it’s pretty dark and consistent which I dig! The mother-of-pearl block inlays give this guitar a “custom” vibe for sure!
The Solo II Custom comes with 22 X-Jumbo frets which is yet another modern feature of this instrument. It makes bends a breeze and I must say I’m very impressed by the fretwork. It’s top-notch as in any Schecter I have played. There are no sharp ends at all and all the frets are levelled very precisely, well done Schecter!
Pickups and Electronics
Solo II Custom comes with US-made, Schecter Pasadena Plus on the bridge and Pasadena on the neck position with a gold cover. To be honest, I had no experience with Schecter Pasadena pickups before, but after having played these for a while, I am very impressed!
As this guitar is a modern take on the traditional LP-style guitar, these pickups can be also considered a modern appointment on this instrument.
For your reference, I measured them both with coil split OFF and ON. The Schecter Pasadena Plus (Bridge) measures 15.83K (Split 8.07K) while Schecter Pasadena (Neck) measures 8.2K (Split 4.15K). With both pickups selected, they measure 5.4K (Split 2.75K). They sound absolutely beautiful and mean at the same time!
Although these impressed me a lot, initially I got pretty annoyed with the pickup heights (again Schecter!). I don’t know why, but someone is not giving too much .hit about the pickup heights. I think this is crucial as this guitar may land on someone’s home and that person does not necessarily need to understand how to set up a guitar. So Schecter may have a bad impression.
Wrong Pickup Height Adjustment!
I was surprised that the bridge pickup did not come with a protecting plastic cover (the neck did) and also surprised with the fact that someone attempted to adjust individual screws on the pickup.
However, the overall height was very wrong again, I wasn’t able to play B and especially G strings as they sounded extremely loud so that my ears would pop out!!! When played at the same settings around lower strings or the neck pickup, the guitar sounded great and balanced. I had to spend some time to make these sound balanced and not ear bleeding. So the video that you are watching features the guitar with my pickup height adjustment. I think the guitar sounds pretty balanced to my ears now.
On top of that, I also detected a screw for the neck pickup ring that was mounted with some angle to it which was annoying.
Made In Korea Pots
Regarding pots, these are made in Korea and the craftsmanship on the wiring was pretty good as you can see from the photos. Note that, when I opened the cavity, I noticed a lot of leftover wood particles which was a bit upsetting!
To be honest, I used to be the guy who wanted every single pickup combination, switching and all that black magic on the same guitar. But after having matured a bit, I realised that I am a big fan of generic things. Even though coil splitting provides additional sounds, I’m not a big fan of achieving these alternative sounds on an LP-style guitar. LP-style guitar should sound like an LP or close. If you want single coil pickups, you should go for a Stratocaster or Telecaster in my opinion.
If I was to redesign this guitar, I would have a standard 2-volume and 2 tones with standard wiring.
Regarding the knobs that have grip tips, they are OK however, they failed to install the bridge volume knob and it was almost going to fall out. As I will further provide you with details, I felt like this guitar was made with some sense of urgency again which I hate!
Solo II Custom features a classic mahogany body with a maple top (which we can not see obviously) and has no tummy contour as it has binding on the back of the body as well. Also not to mention, it has an aged satin back finish which looks like a very dark grey colour finish under certain lighting conditions.
It has a slight arch top design and weighs around 4.1kg. Just like my Epiphone Les Paul Custom! I think this is an ideal weight for such a design and I was pretty happy with it!
Bad Design Decision?
However, I would like to mention something that is probably never mentioned by anyone. Solo II Custom comes with a pickguard. I think it looks OK, but if you have a quick look at the image above, you will see that the bridge volume is positioned so close to the pickguard!
In playing position, if you want to immediately turn off the volume (which is a necessary habit for any electric guitar player!), you may easily hit the pickguard. It feels so awkward to have a pickguard almost touching the edge of the pickguard.
I think this is a design mistake or a bad decision. As with the pots and wiring I mentioned above, I would redesign this guitar without a pickguard or have the standard 2 volume + 2 tone pots placed a bit further away from the pickguard.
TonePros Tune-O-Matic Bridge and Tailpiece
Solo II Custom comes with a TonePros Tune-O-Matic style bridge and tailpiece in gold colour. This style of bridges and tailpieces is the most reliable in my opinion. Especially, when these come from a known manufacturer such as TonePros or Gotoh, you can be sure that there will be no issues with these.
I also wanted to mention this easy access/comfort cut for accessing higher registers. As I was able to test similar guitars back to back these days, I can easily tell you that this is probably the most comfortable design on an LP-style guitar. Even though this is a single-cut body, you will have no issues with accessing higher registers.
The Epiphone Les Paul Custom feels pretty much the opposite and it is almost impossible to play higher registers without adjusting your body.
The only problem is that it looks a bit weird and disconnected from the rest of the guitar’s vibe. But note that this is just visuals, nothing to do with playing feel!
As you can see from the photo above, when they created this easy access, they had to remove the binding too and it looks a bit weird around the edges. While I was visually inspecting the guitar, I noticed a lot more binding issues. So here, I would like to share and document them with you as well.
Chip on The Binding?
The first one which stood out immediately was the tiny chip on the binding. This is located in the first position and can be easily seen by the naked eye.
I also noticed some colour leakage between the yellowish binding and the black finish as you can see below.
More Binding Issues
It requires a lot of work to make these picture-perfect, however, it makes the guitar look cheaper, especially if you can spot them. As I used to work in the industry as a guitar tester, I have this “occupational disease” that makes me see all the little details.
The last issue with the binding was the most difficult to detect. But I think it’s already visible in the image below. These bindings on each side are becoming unequal to each other in depth. Both start OK at the first fret and then when you come towards the higher registers, the one on the upper part (playing position) gets thinner.
These little details can make this guitar look so much more high-end than it is now in my opinion. But as I mentioned, most of the things I have been able to detect are visuals or can be adjusted in a matter of minutes.
As you can see, most of the issues I detected are all about visuals and some aspects of proper guitar setup. I think the Schecter Solo II Custom is an excellent guitar if you are looking for a Les Paul-style, single-cut guitar with a modern take. I think Solo II Custom, thanks to the Schecter Pasadena pickups, sounds awesome and can handle any genre of music without an issue.
With the coil-split option, you can pretty much cover anything. But be aware that the pickguard vs bridge volume position is not so comfortable, especially if you are a player who automatically turns off the guitar volume once you are done playing in between parts.
I would honestly like to tell you that it has a huge value considering its price tag. But I’m not going to do that! Not sure if you have noticed already, but Schecter’s prices have gone up like mental recently. There are 25 to 50% increases on some models and I’m not able to justify that with this level of craftsmanship. These price changes are expected but I think it’s a bit exaggerated and also impacts your perception of these instruments.
I think these should stay below 1000EUR in the EU. If you check out their latest Solo II model the “Supreme”, you may be shocked by its price tag. It’s a similarly built instrument with better cosmetics and different high-end pickups and it retails around 1999EUR! I mean this is insane. you can step into the +2K segment if you save your money a bit longer.
The guitar prices are going up so badly these days, but I can’t justify Schecter’s move here. I think they are not able to up the game with better quality controls, there’s no point in considering Schecter a value brand anymore. But don’t get me wrong, they still beat most of the competitors without a single doubt in my opinion.
I hope you have enjoyed this real guitar review article and materials. Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!
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